The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has received Royal Assent and will remove the element of fault in the divorce process. The announcement was made on 26 June 2020. This means:-
There will be no requirement to evidence the other party’s conduct or ‘fault’ in order to divorce;
There will be no possibility to contest the divorce (and commence costly contested divorce proceedings);
The process will be faster in that the parties can be officially divorced and obtain the final order (“decree absolute”) within a minimum of 20 weeks.
The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 14 June 2019 but was only committed to a committee of the whole house on 17 June 2020, enabling all MPs to debate and vote on the matter. The Bill then returned to the House of Lords to consider an amendment before receiving Royal Assent.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland told MPs that the Bill’s reforms will not come into force on Royal Assent as the bill needs to be carefully implemented. According to Buckland, we should be working towards implementation in Autumn 2021 at the earliest.
Whilst it has been a long process, with 30 years of campaigning under its belt, it is worth the wait, and will bring divorce law in England and Wales into the 21st century and up to speed with many other nations.